Bulgaria and Ukraine announce they will begin withdrawing their combined 1,250 troops in Iraq by mid-December.
No mention of “Christmas” anywhere in the White House Christmas card. Just “best wishes for a holiday season of hope and happiness.”
The Pentagon’s extensive covert propaganda operations in Iraq have made a mockery of President Bush’s desire to turn Iraq into “an inspiring example to reformers in the region.” They have also “sparked a backlash among some senior military officers in Iraq and at the Pentagon who argue that attempts to subvert the news media could destroy the U.S. military’s credibility in other nations and with the American public.”
Yet conservative pundits and bloggers could hardly be more pleased. They have offered virtually unqualified praise for the propaganda efforts.
[The propaganda efforts] wouldn’t undercut the trust of the Iraqi people if papers like the LA Times weren’t blowing their cover. We need more operations like this in Iraq, and more respect for their classified nature.
So we’re spinning the Iraqi press by planting propaganda in its pages? BFD [Big f***ing deal]. … We’re adjusting to war in a new media universe. We haven’t adjusted swiftly enough.
If you toss away the myth that news and reporting is some sacred, undefilable calling, this story becomes a non-starter. When I look at the front page of my local paper, most of the stories were not written by their employees. Newspapers use stories from AP or Reuters all the time. Providing content to newspapers is a well-established business.
Smart move, given that the Iraq Campaign is one small part of the Terror War – in which the media is the arm of decision. If you don’t manage information, you lose. … Propaganda is important in any war, but it’s vital in a media war.
Yesterday, Lynne Cheney appeared on NPR’s Diane Rehm Show to offer an indefensible defense of her husband’s attempts to link Iraq to 9/11:
I’ve seen Dick specifically say “no” to the question asked “is there a connection between Saddam Hussein and 9/11″ because there isn’t a connection between Saddam Hussein and 9/11. So, if your caller is troubled, I guess I would just like to know more specifics.
(Full transcript of the conversation below.)
In fact, when specifically asked about the link, Vice President Cheney did not play down — but rather played up — the connection. Here are the specifics:
WHEN ASKED SPECIFICALLY ABOUT AN IRAQ – 9/11 LINK, CHENEY SAID IT WAS “PRETTY WELL CONFIRMED”:
RUSSERT: Do you still believe there is no evidence that Iraq was involved in September 11?
CHENEY: “Well, what we now have that’s developed since you and I last talked, Tim, of course, was that report that””it’s been pretty well confirmed that [9/11 hijacker Mohammed Atta] did go to Prague and he did meet with a senior official of the Iraqi intelligence service in Czechoslovakia last April, several months before the attack.” [NBC, Meet The Press, 12/9/01]
EVEN AFTER THE WAR BEGAN, WHEN SPECIFICALLY ASKED, CHENEY SUGGESTED THERE MIGHT BE AN IRAQ – 9/11 CONNECTION:
RUSSERT: The Washington Post asked the American people about Saddam Hussein, and this is what they said: 69 percent said he was involved in the September 11 attacks. Are you surprised by that?
CHENEY: No. I think it’s not surprising that people make that connection.
MR. RUSSERT: But is there a connection?
VICE PRES. CHENEY: We don’t know.
[NBC, Meet the Press, 11/14/03]
CHENEY SAID IRAQ WAS THE “GEOGRAPHIC BASE” FOR 9/11 HIJACKERS:
CHENEY: If we’re successful in Iraq, … we will have struck a major blow right at the heart of the base, if you will, the geographic base of the terrorists who have had us under assault now for many years, but most especially on 9/11.” [NBC, Meet The Press, 9/14/03]
Here’s the relevant transcript for the Diane Rehm Show:
[AmericanProgress recently launched TortureIsNotUS.org, a campaign to support the McCain anti-torture legislation now being held up by conservatives in Congress. Our guest blogger, Peter Bauer, is a former U.S. Army military intelligence interrogator who served during the Gulf War with the 3rd Armored Division.]
During the latter days of the Cold War and the quite warm days of the first Gulf War, I served in the United States Army as an Interrogator (MOS 97E). As a graduate of the Interrogation program at the U.S. Army Intelligence Center and School, Ft. Huachuca, Arizona, I received comprehensive training on acceptable interrogation techniques, as well as training in adherence to the Geneva Conventions.
But it’s not that training that produced my firm conviction that torture and “coercive interrogation techniques” are ineffective intelligence gathering techniques. It is my experience using such techniques myself, as an instructor in resistance to interrogation. Read more
Yesterday, President Bush claimed that Iraqi security forces “primarily led” the assault on the city of Tal Afar. Bush highlighted it as an “especially clear” sign of the progress Iraq security forces were making in Iraq.
The progress of the Iraqi forces is especially clear when the recent anti-terrorist operations in Tal Afar are compared with last year’s assault in Fallujah. In Fallujah, the assault was led by nine coalition battalions made up primarily of United States Marines and Army — with six Iraqi battalions supporting them…This year in Tal Afar, it was a very different story. The assault was primarily led by Iraqi security forces — 11 Iraqi battalions, backed by five coalition battalions providing support.
TIME Magazine reporter Michael Ware, who is embedded with the U.S. troops in Iraq who participated in the Tal Afar battle, appeared on Anderson Cooper yesterday. He said Bush’s description was completely untrue:
I was in that battle from the very beginning to the very end. I was with Iraqi units right there on the front line as they were battling with al Qaeda. They were not leading. They were being led by the U.S. green beret special forces with them.
Sen. John Warner (R-VA) who was also on Anderson Cooper yesterday said “I respect those journalists that embed themselves and I accept as a credible description what you’ve just put forward.”
Full Transcript: Read more
In an interview yesterday with Fox News’s Neil Cavuto, Bill O’Reilly claimed that his reporting intimidated oil company CEOs into lowering gasoline prices:
O’REILLY: I have guys inside the five major oil companies – my father used to work for one of those oil companies by the way – who have told me that in those meetings they look for every way to jack up oil prices after Katrina, every way, when they didn’t have to. They got scared because of my reporting and reporting of some others. They said, “Uh ho.”
CAVUTO: So wait a minute, you’re not, you’re taking credit for gas prices being down from where they are?
O’REILLY: I said my reporting and some reporting of others. They got scared.
So not only is Bill O’Reilly saving Christmas, he’s making it cheaper for you to get to the mall. Is there anything this guy can’t do?
Full transcript below: Read more